Civil Rights in the USA, 1945-68

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Those who favoured initial black concentration upon economic improvement rather than upon social, political and legal equality
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When Americans talk about 'the Truman administration' they mean the government as lead by that particular president
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Affirmative action
also known as 'positive discrimination'; helping those who have had a disadvantegous start in life
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Congress could add 'Amendments' to the Constitution
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Attornery General
Head of Justice Department in the federal government
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Black nationalists
those who want a separate black nation either within the USA or in Africa
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Black muslims
Members of the Nation of Islam, a religion popular among ghetto blacks
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Black power
a controversial term, with different meanings for different people, for example, black pride, black economic self-sufficiency, black violence, black separatism, black nationalism, black political power, black working class revolution, black dominatio
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Border states
States such as Kansas, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, on the border between North and South. In these peripheral Southern states, there were Jim Crow laws, but they were not as harsh as those in the Deep South
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the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in favour of integrated education
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the Committee on Government Contract Compliance, set up by President Truman in 1951, aimed to encourage companies to halt job discrimination
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Branches of an organisation
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Latino (more popular from the 1990s) or Hispanic American; citizen or resident of the United Statess who speaks Spanishand whose ancestors (or himself) had immigrated from Latin American countries such as Mexico. Chicano was popular in 70s and 80s
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Civil rights
Having the vote in free elections; equal treatment under the law; equal opportunities, e.g. in education and work; freedom of speech; religion andd movement
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Civil rights movement
Aimed at legal, social, political and economical equality for blacks, Black and white activists campagined, particularly in the 1960s, with some success. Historians disagree over the exact dates of the movement
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The Congress of Racial Equality was a civil rights organisation formed by James Farmer in 1942
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Cold War
From about 1946 to 1989, hostility betweeen the USA and the USSR was known as the Cold War
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the ideology of the USSR and its allied states. Emphasised economic equality and state control of the economy. As the Communist Party wa sypposed to be the party of the people, Communist states were usually one-party states. no other parties needed
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When the Southern States left the Union, they became the Confederate States of America, known as the Confederacy. Supporters of the Condfederacy were called Confederates
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US parliament, consisting of the Senate and and the House of Representatives. Voters in each American state elect two senators to the Senate and a number of congressmen (depending on the size of the state's population to the House of Representatives
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The rules and system by which a country's government works. The USA has a written constitution
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Daughters of the American Revolution
A prestigious middle class society whose members could claim US ancestry back to the revolutionary war era, distinguishing them from newer immigrants
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'De facto' segregation
Segregation if the races in fact rather than in the law
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'De jure' segregation
Legal segregation of the races, set down in laws.
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After the Second World War, countries such as Britain allowed their colonies to become independent
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Deep South
States in the heart of the old Confederacy, such as Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana
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When me are released into civilian life after serving in the armed forces
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Democratic Convention
Democrats and Republicans each have a national invention in a presidential election year, to choose/confirm their presidential candidate
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When a country's economy is nearly ruined (prices and wages fall, and many people are unemployed, as in the USA after 1929).
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to deprive someone of their vote
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A racist political party established in 1948
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Economic boycotts
The use of black purchasing power to gain concessions, for example, not shopping at a store that refused to employ blacks
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In this context, freedom from slavery
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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Set up by president Kennedy to give equal economic opportunities to employees of the federal government and to those who worked for its customers.
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Executive orders
the constitution reserved certain powers to the executive (the president). For example, the president could issuee executive orders regarding the armed forces in his constitutional capacity as commander-in-chief
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Fair Employment Board
Set up by Tryman in 1948 to give minorities equal teatment in federal government
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the Federal Bureau of Investigation are effectively èlite police officers wih national juridicion over particularly serious crimes
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The Fair Employment Practices Committee was set up by Roosevelt inn 1943 to promote equal employment opportunities in defence industries
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Federal government
The USA, as a fedderation of many separate states (such as Aouth Carolina and New York), has a federal governmen. The federal governmentt consists of the President, Congress annd the Supreme Court
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Prolonging congressional debates to stop bills being voted on upon.
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First-come, first-served
Southern buses were divided into black and white sections. Sometimes blacks would be standing while the white section was empty. Blacks therefore wanted seating onn a first-come, first-served basis
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Freedom Rides
When integrated groups of civil rights activists rode on interstate buses to defy segregation and monitor whether Supreme Court rulings against segregation were being ignored
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Freedom Summer
The Summer 1964 campaign in Missippi that was organised by SNCC and designed to get blacks to register to vote
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GI Bill of Rights
GIs ('government issue', i.e. soldiers) were given education grants in gratitude for their service. The Bill of Rights had guaranteed rights to citizens the eighteenth century.
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Areas inhabited mostly or solely by (usually poor) members of a particular ehnicity or nationality
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Graduate schools
Graduate schools are Universities
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Great Migration
the Northward movement of Southern blacks during the twentieth century
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Great society
Johnson's plan to decrease poverty and inequality in the USA
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Harlem Renaissance (ca. 1919-1930)
When black culture (poetry, music, drama, dance) flourished in New Uork City's black ghetto, Harlem
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Relating to Spain, for example having Spanish ancestry and/or speaking Spanish besides English
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Howard University
Prestigious black university, established in the nineteenth century
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The social mixing of people of different colours and cultures
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Between states, for example, between Alabama and Georgia
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Jim Crow
An early 1930's comic, black-faced, ministrel character developed by a white performing artist that proved to be very popular with white audiences. Later Jim Crow laws in the Southern states after their reconstruction
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Justice Department
Branch of the federal government in Washington DC with special responsibility for justice
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Kerner Commission/Kerner Report
Kerner (who was governor of Illinois) was asked in 1967 by Johnson to investigate ghetto riots. His report into the riots was published in 1968
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Korean War
From 1950 to 1953, the USA, South Korea and the United Nations fought against Communist North Korea and China in Korea
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Those whose political beliefs include greater econimic equality, for example, Communist and socialists
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Generally more sympathetic than most to racial/social/economic equality
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Taking a case/issue to the law courts
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To lobby is to pressurise congressmen to vote in the way desired by the lobbyists
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Unlawfully killing (usually by hanging) of blacks
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Minority leader
Leader of the party with fewer members in Congress
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National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, set up in 1909 to gain black equality
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Nation of Islam
A black nationalist/separatist religious group, set up in 1930
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National Guard and reserves
Each state jas its own 'army', the national Guardd, ready to deal with state problems, but also available to be federalised if the federal government needs extra manpower. The reserves are federally controlled, trained and ready to supplement the reg
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New Deal
President Roosevelt's programme to bring the US out of the economic depression
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North, Midwest and West
The term North is commonly used to cover any area north of the American South. New York and Philadelphia (northeast) are Northern cities, Chicago Midwestern and Los Angeles and Phoenix are Western
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Passive resistance
Ghandi's si-down protests against British imperialism inn India were called 'passive ressistance'. King felt 'passive' sounded negative
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In this context, part of a political party's advertised policies
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When presidential candidates for particular party vie to be chosen as that party's candidate
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Public schools
Schools financed and run by the government (called state schools in Britain)
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Pertaining to a group of people connected by common descent from distinct ethnic stock
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Estate agents who buy or sell property on behalf of others
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When the 11 ex-Confederate states were rebuilt, reformed and restored to the Union
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In the context of American race relationships this meant people of African descent (black Americans) being returned to Africa
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Member of the House of Representatives
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Republican Party
A political party established in the mid-nineteenth century that opposed the extension of slavery
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In order to keep Indians under control in the late-nineteenth century the US government put them in areas of poor land that the whites did not want
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Rights Revolution
1960's assertiveness, for example, for equal rights for ethnic minorities and women, led to talk of a 'Rights Revolution'
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Relating to a particular arrea of the United States, as the South
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The separation of people because of race (for example, separate housing, schools and transport)
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Those who favoured separation of races in public spaces
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Separate but equal
The 1896 ruling, PLESSY v. FERGUSON, approved segregation as long as facilities were equal (they never were in practice)
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Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey emphasised black-owned business as typical of the self-help needed for black progress
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A white landowner provided the land, seed, tools and orders; a black worker (the sharecropper) provided the labour. The crop produced was usually divided between the two
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An example of economic pressure: black protesters would sit at segregated restaurantts until served. If they weren't served, they'd be taking up seats, so white paying customers couldn't find places. The idea was to force the restaurant to desegregat
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Those whose political philosophy emphasises equal distribution of wealth; socialism was never very popular in the exceptionally capitalistic United States
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Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Important civil rights organisation established by Martin Luther King in 1957
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Southern Manifesto
Signed by most southern politicians in 1954, this document rejected the Supreme Court's BROWN ruling on integrated education
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State of the Union Address
Annual presidential speech that sums up the situation in the USA and/or advertises the president's achievements
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State's rights
Throughout US history, there has been constitutional conflict between upholders off the powers of the individual states as opposed to those of the federal government
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Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee
A student civil rights organisation set ys as a result of the student sit-ins and encouragement of Ella Baker
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Supreme Court
The US Constitution said Supreme Court judges could not rule upon whether laws and actions wennt against the Constitution
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Trade Union
A group of workers united to bargain for better working connditions and pay
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'To secure these rights'
A liberal report on race commissioned by Truman and published in 1947
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Uncle Tom
Character from the anti-slavery book 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' who was considered excessively deferential to whites by twentieth-century blacks, who refered to any contemporary they consideredd obsequios as an 'Uncle Tom'.
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Vietnam War
From c1950 to 1973, the USA was helping opponents of Communism in Vietnam.
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Welfare dependancy
Reliance upon federal aid
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Illegal immigrants from Mexico (they got wet crossing the Rio Grande)
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Women's liberation
This movement developed in the 1960's demanding equality for women; it was usually abbreviated as 'women's lib'.
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Women's political council
'formed by black lectures at Alabama State College in Montgomery c1945-46; campaigned for bus desegregation
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When Americans talk about 'the Truman administration' they mean the government as lead by that particular president

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Affirmative action


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Attornery General


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